Don't ever write about writing. No one wants to hear about that. Even once you have become a successful writer, people don't want to hear about how you put words on paper. They just want the words.
Aunt Betty is turning 80. She would have been 38 when I was born. She'll live to be 105 because she doesn't have time to be bothered with dying. Aunt Betty sends birthday cards to me and my kids without fault. They might be late, but she admits it. I think I was 17 when she stopped slipping a $5 bill into those cards. That was probably the first inkling I had that I might becoming an adult.
Aunt Betty is great at Scrabble. She's very Catholic. She is probably disappointed in me, but would never let it show.
We moved away from New York when I was very young. Every summer we would travel back home. I remember Aunt Betty's back yard was full of mosquitoes if you ventured too close to the trees in the back of the yard. Her son had the most amazing Lord of the Rings poster in the basement. I think it was Lord of the Rings. It might have been a Led Zeppelin poster.
Her next door neighbor girl was at least four years older than me. She once pretended that I was her boyfriend to make another neighbor kid jealous. That five minutes is burned into my memory. Her slanted driveway. She was wearing yellow shorts. She put her arm around me and claimed we were boyfriend and girlfriend. There was a broken lawn chair on the curb waiting for the trash men. I played it cool. Or maybe I was scared shitless. Either way, she was off after the boy in five minutes. I might have waited an hour for her to come back. Years later I saw her again. She remembered me but only so. I don't think she remembered the "boyfriend" thing. I can't seem to forget.
In her most recent birthday card to me, Aunt Betty mentioned that she didn't really have a computer, but if she did, she'd look up my blog and give it a read. While I stand behind ever letter and word and phrase and paragraph and Jesus comic I've written, I think I would be embarrassed for her to read all of this nonsense. She would probably laugh. She does have a good sense of humor and, by Catholic Law, has to forgive me for my sins.
Aunt Betty is having a surprise birthday party thrown for her next weekend in New York. Sally suggested we go. 12 hours there. 12 hours back. It would be hellish. And totally worth it.
Happy Birthday, Aunt Betty!
And if between now and next Saturday you do get the internet and read this horrible web site, I'm sorry I ruined the surprise. Forgive me.